- Bloomberg Philanthropies has partnered with the World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF) on a second exchange program for city leaders in the cultural sector to share ideas that advance local programs and policymaking.
- Each exchange consists of a team of cultural leaders who will visit a member city that faces similar challenges. Participants will gain exposure to innovative strategies and programs that could be used in their home cities. The specific exchanges and participant groupings will be announced in April 2020.
- Applicants must be one of WCCF's member cities, which in the United States qualifies Austin, TX; Los Angeles; New York; and San Francisco.
WCCF member cities believe that "culture is the driving force in defining and setting the conditions for shared prosperity, and can help address all the major city challenges we face today," according to a report on the inaugural exchange program, which took place last year. The exchange was designed to foster collaboration to help city leaders learn from each other and find practical solutions to common problems.
Last year's exchange involved four groups each focused on a different area: culture and reconciliation; culture in local communities; preserving and growing affordable arts spaces; and repurposing waste creatively. Each group involved two to seven cities and worked to meet specific goals in addition to the general idea-sharing goal.
Organizers examine four key criteria in devising a good exchange and measuring success, according to a spokesperson:
- Relevance: Address a significant city challenge using a cultural strategy, project or policy
- Viability: Demonstrate support from they key public and/or private stakeholders and city leadership needed to implement takeaways from the exchange
- Timing/urgency: Take advantage of a timely opportunity to respond to the challenge
- Scalability: Demonstrate how takeaways can be viable and replicable in other global cities
U.S. cities increasingly are working with others to solve pressing issues. Collaborations are taking place both regionally and across the country to share ideas to solve common problems. The cultural exchange provides an opportunity to expand that collaboration to a global scale. Identifying cities in a different part of the world that face similar issues to those occurring locally can be difficult, but exchange organizers matching compatible cities eases the process.
The exchange is unique in its approach to solving problems through culture. The term "culture" might initially bring to mind thoughts of art, and that is a significant element of the exchange program. But culture also goes deeper than art to encompass elements like a city's history, heritage and demographic make-up. Considering these factors when addressing issues can lead to outside-the-box thinking that might produce a more creative response than a traditional approach.